The G-8 is a group of the 8 richest industrial nations that gather every year from 19xx to 2009 in the "G-8 Summit" to discuss current global concerns, especially regarding economic issues. It was founded in 1975 as the "Group of Six." Canada was added in 1976, making the Group of Seven. Russia joined in 1998, making the Group of Eight.
Starting in 2010 it will be eclipsed by the larger G-20 group. The G-8 will continue to meet on matters important to the most developed economies, such as international security issues. But those meetings will come as world leaders converge for other events, not in major summits.